Wicked Easy Homemade Gnocchi
Homemade Potato Gnocchi is a hundred times better than store-bought, super easy to make, and very versatile.
Here are the ingredients for making my “Wicked Easy” Homemade Gnocchi recipe! As you can see, I am using 8 potatoes because I want to make a double batch since the gnocchi freeze so well!
A dry, starchy potato is one of the best bets for making gnocchi with a lighter, fluffier texture. Russet potatoes are considered the best for making great gnocchi, but other similarly dry and starchy potato varieties can also work.
Wash the potatoes and pierce them with a knife or fork so they don’t burst while cooking due to steam build-up.
Bake the potatoes in a 400*F oven until cooked, about 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size. Baking the potatoes makes them drier than boiling them, which means you will need less flour, leading to a less dense, lighter final product.
Once cooked, let them rest until they are cool enough to handle.
Peel the potatoes while they are still warm. After peeling and ricing / grating, you will be working with almost half the weight of the potato you started with when you factor in both water loss during baking and the removal of the skins.
Once peeled, you want to process the potato through a potato ricer or food mill (fitted with its finest disk) into tiny pieces of potato. If you don’t have either of those pieces of equipment, you can also use a box grater to process the potatoes into small pieces.
As a last resort, pushing the potato through a fine-mesh drum strainer could also work. However, do not use any methods that mash the potato, like using a potato masher, since the last thing you want to do is overwork the potato or have chunks.
Drizzle the beaten egg over the grated potatoes and cover the top with teaspoon-sized dollops of the ricotta cheese.
There are also recipes that don’t use ricotta or eggs in them so feel free to omit if desired. These doughs are slightly lighter and less dense; however, they are more challenging in that they sometimes fall apart due to the lack of binder.
Season the potato mixture with salt and pepper and then add the flour.
When adding the flour, sprinkle it evenly over the potato mixture. I like to sift the flour over the potatoes because I think it gives the most even coverage, making it easier to work the flour in evenly. It also helps to make sure there are no clumps.
I also hold some of the flour back in case the dough doesn’t need it all.
Working with your hands, work the mixture into a soft, smooth dough. If the dough is sticky, add more flour as needed but only enough to hold the dough together, and don’t overmix!
You do not want to over knead or smash the dough, but rather try and keep it light and fluffy. The cause of tough gnocchi is usually one of two things (or both): too much flour in the dough or too much kneading!
On a cutting board, roll the dough into a log with your hands. If you are doubling the recipe, divide the dough into two logs for ease in handling. The dough should be soft and smooth. If the log will not hold together, return it to the bowl and work in more flour.
Divide each log into 8 “somewhat” equal-sized pieces.
Roll each of the 8 pieces into thin strips, and then cut each strip into approximately 1-inch sized pieces.
The last decision regarding your gnocchi has to do with their form. Classically, gnocchi are ridged, which can be done either using a gnocchi board (a little wooden paddle called a rigagnocchi, from riga, the Italian word for “ridge” or “line”), or on the tines of a fork.
Holding a fork in one hand, press each piece of cut dough against the ridged surface with your index finger to start, which makes an indentation in the center of the dough piece. Then roll the dough down and off the ridges of the fork and allow it to drop onto the work surface.
Some people claim that the ridges help the sauce cling to the gnocchi better, while others claim that it doesn’t actually help and skip this step saying it is unnecessary. From what I can tell, the ridges are a nice decorative touch, however they don’t really help all that much to make the sauce stick.
For better sauce adherence, you can just use your thumb to put an indentation into the dough piece, which will act as a tiny little cup helping to pick up more sauce.
Whether the time and effort to put ridges or indentations on each little dumpling is worth it is up to you! It’s a personal call and certainly not essential. If you are in a rush, it is definitely easier to just cut them into pieces and just leave them as cute little pillows.
Gnocchi should be stored in a single layer on a parchment-lined and flour-dusted baking sheet and refrigerated or placed in the freezer until needed.
To freeze gnocchi: You can serve freshly made gnocchi right away or within a couple of hours, or you can freeze them for later use. It is best to freeze gnocchi uncooked as soon as they are shaped. Put the gnocchi in the freezer while they’re still on the baking sheets and freeze until they are solid and hard to the touch, about 3 hours.
Transfer the frozen gnocchi into a resealable freezer bag, or several smaller bags, and freeze for up to two months.
To cook frozen gnocchi: Frozen gnocchi must be cooked directly from the freezer in plenty of boiling water, or they will stick together. Cook frozen gnocchi in boiling water in batches. Shake any excess flour from the frozen gnocchi and stir gently as you add them to the boiling water.
Frozen gnocchi will cause the temperature of the cooking water to drop, so it is important that the water return to a boil as soon as possible; cover the pot if necessary. If they cook too long or there are too many in the pot, they will fall apart before the water returns to a boil. Drain the gnocchi as described below and sauce / serve according to the specific recipe.
Cook gnocchi in 3 to 4 batches in boiling, salted water. Do not overcrowd the pot and give it a light stir in case any gnocchi are stuck together. As soon as they start to float to the top, cook for 1 to 2 minutes more and then immediately remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and transfer to a warm holding container. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil to keep from sticking and keep them spread out. Repeat the cooking of the remaining batches as needed.
To finish, transfer them to a warm sauce or a hot sauté pan, depending on the recipe directions.
Gnocchi with Brown Butter & Sage
Melt about 2 Tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan.
When the butter starts to foam, add about 6 leaves of fresh sage that have been thinly sliced into strips. You can also use or substitute with any other fresh herbs that you like, such as oregano, thyme, chives, etc.
Remove the pan from the heat and toss the herb-butter mixture with the cooked gnocchi.
Serve immediately topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper.
Gnocchi Sauteed with Bacon
For each portion you will need 1 to 2 strips of cooked bacon that has been chopped. If you have any of the leftover bacon grease, you can use it to sauté the cooked gnocchi. If not, use olive oil.
Add the cooked and well drained gnocchi into the hot oiled pan (either bacon grease or olive oil), and cook until browned on both sides.
Be careful of grease splatter when sautéing the gnocchi. When browned on both sides and heated throughout, transfer the gnocchi to a plate.
Sprinkle the golden brown sautéed gnocchi with the chopped cooked bacon and top with grated parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Adding a small dollop of sour cream is an optional suggestion if desired.
Homemade potato gnocchi are easy to make and much better tasting than the store-bought variety. Gnocchi can also be finished in a variety of ways, are very versatile, and they freeze really well!
- 2 lbs. Baking Potatoes, such as Russets 3 to 4, depending on size
- 1 each Egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Pepper
- 1 cup Flour
- As needed Olive Oil
- Preheat oven t 400*F. Wash potatoes and pierce each a few times with a fork or knife.
- Bake the potatoes until fully cooked and easily pierced, about 45 to 60 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest until they are cool enough to handle.
- Peel the potatoes and then rice or grate them over a bowl with a potato ricer or box grater.
- Drizzle the beaten egg over the potatoes and cover the top of them with teaspoons of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the potato mixture and then sift about 3/4 of the flour on top.
- Working with your hands, gently work the mixture into a soft, smooth dough. If the dough is sticky, add more flour as needed. Knead just until flour is incorporated, do not over mix.
- On a cutting board, roll the dough into a log with your hands. Divide the log into 8 equal pieces.
- Then roll each piece of dough into a small, equal sized log, which you will then cut into 3/4 to 1 inch-sized gnocchi pieces.
- Roll each gnocchi piece over a floured fork or a gnocchi paddle to get a ridge pattern on them, or press your thumb into each piece to make a decorative indent. Transfer the formed gnocchi to a parchment-lined and flour-dusted sheet pan, keeping them in a single layer.
- The sheet pan of finished gnocchi should be refrigerated for at least an hour before cooking, or they can be frozen at this point and then stored in a plastic freezer bag until needed.
- All gnocchi are first boiled before finishing with your desired recipe / serving method. To boil, bring 4 quarts of water to a low boil that has had salt added to it for taste. Add the gnocchi to the boiling water in batches being sure to not overcrowd the pot.
- Once the gnocchi are in the pot, give a light gentle stir in case any are stuck together. As soon as the gnocchi start to float to the surface, cook for 1 to 2 minutes more and then immediately remove them from the water using a strainer or slotted spoon.
- Transfer the cooked gnocchi to a warm holding container and drizzle with a small amount of olive oil to keep them from sticking. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining gnocchi.
- The cooked gnocchi are now ready to be finished with the recipe of your choice. This can be something as simple as tossing them with a warm marinara sauce, stirring them in a pan with some fresh pesto, or serving in a classic recipe such as brown butter and sage! I have included the Brown Butter Sage recipe and one for Sautéed Gnocchi with Bacon, including pictures, in my Potato Gnocchi blog post Easy Homemade Gnocchi - Chef Colin Roche's Blog (chefroche.com)
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